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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $705.7 Million in Emergency Relief for Road and Bridge Repairs

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 The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced more than $705.7 million in Emergency Relief (ER) funds to help 34 states, as well as American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, make repairs to roads and bridges damaged by storms, floods, and other unexpected events.

“The Department is pleased to reimburse states and territories that have made critical repairs to their transportation infrastructure following natural disasters such as wildfires, storms, and floods,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

FHWA’s ER program reimburses states, territories, and federal land management agencies for eligible expenses associated with damage from natural disasters or other emergency situations.  The funds help to pay for the reconstruction or replacement of damaged highways and bridges along with the arrangement of detours and replacement of guardrails or other damaged safety devices.

More than a fifth of the total amount provided today – about $153 million – will be used to pay for repairs to damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. There are also funds directed towards other severe weather recovery efforts, including the wildfires in California.

This Emergency Relief funding includes awards of:

  • More than $12.5 million to repair damage to roads and bridges from wildfires in California in 2018.
  • $1.2 million to repair US Highway 550 Red Mountain Pass in southwest Colorado, after it sustained damaged from a rock slide.
  • $19.5 million to repair damage caused by Hurricane Michael’s heavy winds and significant storm surge flooding roadways throughout the Panhandle area.

“These funds will help keep our country’s roads and bridges safe and well-maintained in the aftermath of the hurricanes and other severe storms seen in recent years,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson.

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White Former Police Officer Acquitted In Death of Black Unarmed Teenager

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In this March 12, 2019 file photo, former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld, charged with homicide in the shooting death of Antwon Rose II, walks to the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa. A witness in the shooting of Rose by Rosfeld said Wednesday March 20, 2019 at his trial in Pittsburgh, that he saw the officer standing on the sidewalk, panicking, saying, "I don't know why I shot him. I don't know why I fired." (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A jury has acquitted a white former police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager outside Pittsburgh.


Former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with homicide for killing 17-year-old Antwon Rose II last June. Rose was riding in an unlicensed taxi that was involved in a drive-by shooting. Rosfeld pulled the car over and shot Rose in the back, arm and side of the face as the teen ran away.

Rosfeld testified that he thought Rose or another passenger in the car had a gun pointed at him.

The jury saw video of the fatal confrontation. The verdict came Friday after fewer than four hours of deliberations.

The shooting triggered protests in the Pittsburgh area last year.

The family of a black teenager who was shot in the back and killed by a white police officer outside Pittsburgh remained stoic after the man was acquitted.

Antwon Rose II’s sister had tears streaming down her face after the jury cleared former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld of a homicide charge late Friday. Her mother urged her not to cry.

The jury deliberated fewer than four hours before reaching its verdict. There were tears and gasps from black people gathered in an overflow courtroom, and several broke out in song: “Antwon Rose was a freedom fighter, and he taught us how to fight.”

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Mississippi Governor Signs One of America’s Strictest Abortion Laws In The Nation, Welcomes Lawsuits

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Mississippi’s governor has signed one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation.

Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Thursday outlawing most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks into pregnancy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights calls the bill “blatantly unconstitutional” and says it will sue Mississippi to block the bill from taking effect July 1.

Mississippi is one of several states where Republican leaders are considering abortion-restriction bills this year. Abortion opponents are emboldened by new conservatives on the Supreme Court and are seeking cases to challenge the court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Bryant tweeted that he will fight for “innocent babies, even under the threat of legal action.”

Developing story, more to come…

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Oil/Gas Drilling Blocked On Federal Land In Wyoming Over Climate Change

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A federal judge has temporarily blocked oil and gas drilling on 300,000 acres of federal land in Wyoming, ruling that the Interior Department “did not sufficiently consider climate change” in its assessments of whether to lease federal land for individual projects, the Washington Post reports.


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge has blocked oil and gas drilling on almost 500 square miles (1,295 sq. kilometers) in Wyoming and says the government must consider the cumulative climate change impact of leasing public lands across the U.S. for oil and gas exploration.

The order marks the latest in a string of rulings over the past decade faulting the U.S. for its inadequate consideration of greenhouse gas emissions when issuing leases for oil, gas and coal.

But U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras appeared to go a step further than previous rulings. Contreras said late Tuesday the U.S. Bureau of Land Management must consider nationwide emissions from past, present and future oil and gas leases.

The ruling was in a lawsuit challenging leases issued in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado in 2015 and 2016.

Developing story, more to come…

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